The Fatal Shore by Robert Hughes: a review

An engrossing, thoroughly researched, well-written, powerful, and profoundly disturbing book.

The last lecture on the syllabus of my academic advisor’s Western Civ course was titled “The Lessons of History.” Ernie Sandeen explored the potential lessons we might have learned from our semester’s study, then proceeded to demolish each in turn. At the end of the session, he offered this depressing summary: “The lesson of history, I’ve learned, is that there are no lessons to be learned. Everyone draws conclusions; often different people draw flatly contradictory lessons from the same events.”

This book is like that.

This review was originally published on LibraryThing.

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